How do kids from "open" parents, rebel?

Its normal and expected for teenagers to rebel against the values of their parents. However that usually only implies the parents are “conservative” (in that I’m meaning say old fashioned, buttoned down) and the kids act out by say loud music, crazy hair, smoking, drinking, sex, etc…

BUT, what if the parents are pretty “open” themselves? Lets say the parents also get drunk, smoke weed, and do some crazy stuff and the kids want to “rebel”? What is the point of coloring your hair green if your parents also do it? What is the point of drinking or smoking weed if your parents taught you? What if a kid’s parents are all about being open about sex but the kid wants to keep it private? What if the parents are into “Reject authority/constraints” but the kid wants some?

I have a big group of sibs. My Daddy was a Marine and a drinker. He was a conservative disciplinarian. We had plenty of family free-for-alls. Never any drug use that I knew of. We all coped in differing ways. I have a full-fledged Hippie brother, a sister who was a Jesus freak, a brother who was a jock. And more. It really didn’t matter how my parent behaved, we all found a path, good or bad. I think some kids would be more sensitive to parental openness than others. Just like a pastor might have a rebellious kid and a goody-two-shoes. You can never tell.

All the pastor’s kids I knew were hell on wheels, by far the wildest. The kids of pot smoking hippies I know, are just like all the rest, weird about whatever strikes their fancy. One kid insisted on braces! I see no real difference with open parents, except maybe their kids are pretty open minded, compared to their peers, even if they aren’t following in the parents lifestyle choices.

Yep, here in the bible belt the Baptist preachers kids were always the worst, by far.

  1. Balance, in general.

  2. The right balance for that kid.
    “Keep an open mind, but not so open that everything falls out”


“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”
I think most parents who are open intentionally do just fine; most of the “way too open” ones are probably way too open because they’re absent, drunk 24/7, etc. If you pretty consistently treat your kids in a truly loving way, I think your degree of strict/permissive is not as big an issue as it’s made out to be.

In general, I think that if a parent needs “fixing” in this regard, it’s going to be because they are blind to whatever it is that needs fixing. The parent who thinks they’re “just strict” when in fact they’re repressive and abusive, or “just open” when in fact they’re grossly neglectful. Some are naturally blind, others wilfully blind or blinded by social pressure.

You fundamentally misunderstand what’s going on. Teenagers rebel if they think their parents are engaging in penny-ante bullshit control over their lives. The teens may be right or wrong, but that’s the basic reason: they’re trying to shake off the hands on their shoulders.

If those hands aren’t there, why the hell do you think they would rebel? It’s not something intrinsic to adolescence, it’s a response to a perception of a specific parenting strategy.

This does not, of course, mean that kids with non-disciplinarian parents always make wise choices. They can be fuckups just as easily as kids of hardass parents. It’s just that their fuckuppery will have motives other than rebellion.

My middle daughter was my rebel. I treated all three to the same rules and regs. But she just couldn’t bring her self around to being agreeable. She was angsty and volatile. I just kept marching on, never giving in to her tantrums. I knew she could be a sweet child because she had been before.
I cringe when I hear parents who just keep changing the game and trying to come up with a better way. I never was a strict or regimented parent, but I was consistent. That’s the key.

A long time ago, back in the late 60’s, when “hippies” were scandalous, I saw a cartoon in a magazine that kind of addressed this issue. Two hippies, with tie-dye, head scarves, a peace necklace, and so on, were walking along the sidewalk with their child, a young boy. The kid was strutting along in a three piece suit and tie.

The caption has the dad telling the mom “Don’t worry, it’s just a phase he’s going through.”

Should I be consistently wrong, or consistently right? I believe that it matters. :slight_smile:

Consistency is certainly no key, when parents are stupid or abusive.

Consistency IS the key - IF your main fault is that you tend towards being inconsistent. And gentleness is the key if you’re rough. And determination is the key if you’re timid. And so on.

Sometimes people really are different, in ways where treating them all the same brings vastly different results. Sometimes you need different rules & regs, to cope with that. Other times it’s close enough and turns out OK.

Many years ago in California, I knew a couple with this problem.

In pre-hippie days they had embraced a communal, back to the land lifestyle. In the early 1970s, after having children they moved back to suburbia for better schooling opportunities. They still followed an unconventional lifestyle but were frustrated with a pre-teen daughter who insisted on dolls and lots of pink frilly clothing and bedroom decorations.

I think it goes something like this.

You never saw the tv series “Family Ties”?

I didn’t think the OP was talking about abusive parenting, but non-conforming parenting. Rebelling is a normal teenage behaviour. Changing the rules at that late date can only be harmful. If you have no rules in place by then you’re probably gonna get bad results, I am afraid. You could get lucky, maybe.

I’m not sure I see the relationship between the two things here; besides I learned it different. I was impressed when the band Hatebreed was able to make it a central lyric to one of their songs, Live For This: “If you don’t live for something, you’ll die for nothing.”

:)I think plenty of kids rebel, even with ‘open’ parents, they’ll find some way to piss off their parents. Even if it’s just to see how far they can push the boundaries or, for that matter, they’re not rebelling, but it looks that way to the parents.
I’d wager that parents that teach their kids it’s okay to have sex or smoke weed or generally be their own person as long as their being safe about it (protection and understanding of risk for sex, not driving or letting their friends drive while high, etc) probably have kids that don’t go buck wild as soon as their out of the house. In fact, no cite, but I thought I’ve heard that kids in certain parts of Europe (ie France) don’t have as much of a problem with binge drinking in college since they basically have been drinking (at least to a certain extent) for a few years already.

IOW, kids do things that their parents disapprove of for any number of reasons. If their parents don’t disapprove or even if they do but they still educate them, those things aren’t a big deal. Talk to kids in college that got high with their parents and see (I’m actually curious) if they’re getting high multiple times a day like the rest of us were…the ones that are finally ‘on our own’.
But, of course, it should be noted that some kids will always find a way to rebel. Also, just because the parents are open minded, doesn’t mean that’s what the kids want. Some kids want/need structure and rules and need their parents to tell them that getting high is wrong or that they shouldn’t have sex in high school. Not as rebellion, but because they either need the structure to function* or because they think their parents are wrong.
*I feel like several of the kids I’ve known with ‘cool parents’ (ya know, the friends you had who’s house you would go over to because you could smoke weed in the basement) ended up joining the armed forces.
Come to think of it, I also think a lot of these kids had very young parents, though I’m not sure if they had kids at a young age because they were irresponsible or having kids at a young age made them less likely to discipline their kids because they were trying to be friends with their kid.
TL;Dr Different strokes for different folks (and scooby dooby dooby).

To rebel against their “open” parents, the kids vote for Trump. D’oh.

I once knew a single mom of a 12-year-old boy. Mom was a little strange, but nonetheless a lovely person with liberal politics and a big sense of social justice. The boy was obsessed with Nazis; he read everything he could find about them and liked to draw swastikas on himself and his possessions.
It was obvious he was trying to put his mother through agony.

I always wondered how he turned out.

I have a friend just like ioioio’s - she’s very liberal and very pro social justice. Her 15 year old son is turning in to … the opposite? Not so much neo Nazi-ism, as his little sister is half black. But he did read Mein Kamph and he is having issues with anti-Muslim rhetoric at school. And I think he’s turning into a bit of a men’s rights activist. It’s ugly.

These days most of them don’t, IME. But then I’m talking about kids aged around 12-23, the kids I’m most familiar with, and most of the kids from any family don’t seem that interested in stereotypical rebellion at all. They don’t drink much, they do drugs to a far lesser extent than we used to, and they’re politically involved.

Here’s a cite from a right-wing source, but there are tons of others:

I always joked that I’d tell my daughter about my wild child days and turn her into a Saffy from Ab Fab. Well, I never got around to telling her much, but she is Saffy from Ab Fab, same as most of her friends.

In some areas of the country there is more drug use - I’m in London, and not by any means rich.